The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

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A new interplay between sophia and phronesis emerges in Plato’s conception of wisdom in later dialogues that is quite different from his views in early and middle dialogues. First {Part I), the present inquiry shows that sophia no longer represents primarily theoretical, philosophic wisdom as it does in the Republic (and as Aristotle defines it). Rather, according to the reading and interpretation of the texts presented here, sophia becomes closely akin to Plato’s earlier conception of wisdom in relation to temperance (sophrosyne) in his Socratic dialogues, in that the highest inner harmony and virtue necessarily require sophia qua self- knowledge. Second (Part //), this analysis further aims to show that these claims about wisdom are unlike Plato’s views in other dialogues, and also unlike the accepted scholarly interpretations of the virtues in the Laws. Third {Part ill), Plato implies that phronesis is necessary to complete sophia, which, as will be shown, is primarily an interpersonal type of virtuous wisdom. Phronesis does so by encompassing not only theoretical, philosophic knowledge, but for the first time, a new version of practical, political knowledge.


Mary Lenzi presented “Plato’s Equivocal Wisdom” to the Society at its meeting with the Central Division in Chicago in 2005.

For information about the author see: